The Prime Minister falls 14 votes short – and says that the Bill will be paused while he speaks to EU leaders.
It’s a surprisingly large Government majority: 24 independents and 19 Labour MPs voted with the Government.
MPs would thus become the elected equivalents of the welfare scroungers of tabloid legend – dragging the reputation of Parliament even deeper into the mud.
There are now 15 independents, plus the Change UK factions and a smattering of pro-Brexit rebel Labour MPs.
The Government won by 11 votes, 298 to 309, in a setback for Letwin – though the result doesn’t guarantee No Deal any more than a vote the other way would barred it.
The amendment was seen off by 314-312, so the six votes from the Opposition benches made all the difference.
The amendment passed by 317 to 301 – and seven Labour MPs rebelled to back it.
The role of these MPs in pro-Leave seats abstaining on or voting against the Cooper amendment in defiance of the whip was crucial.
But he doesn’t think enough of his fellow Labour MPs will do so to carry the Withdrawal Agreement over the line.
The presence of four Labour Leavers helped the UK to avoid a customs union – but their absence on a more minor amendment produced a Government defeat.
Does the narrowness of the win signal further problems to come, or has the Government headed off the revolt?
There have been some shocking cases of personal abuse. Bullying must not be allowed to triumph.
“I didn’t expect my daughter to be rung by Special Branch to check her movements in this country.”
The failure to confront anti-semitism within the Labour Party has led to a total breakdown of trust.